OAKLAND -- Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver hit another milestone when he surpassed the 1,900-innings plateau for his career on Tuesday night.
Oliver has thrown 1,900 2/3 innings over the course of his 20-year career. It's a rare feat for someone who has spent so much time in the bullpen, but it's also a testament to his durability and ability to maintain a spot in the big leagues even at 42 years old.
"He has been good for us," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's had a tremendous career, he really has. It was kind of up in the air whether he was going to come back or not [this season], but we're glad he did.
"He has been around the game a long time and he's a lot like [Mark] Buehrle, the picture of durability. They answer the bell and year in and year out they give you what you need. He started some, he's been a reliever. What a tremendous career."
Oliver pondered retirement at the end of last season but instead decided to return for one more year after the Blue Jays opted to pick up his $3 million option for the 2013 campaign. The hope was that it would give Oliver another shot at making the postseason, but Toronto's 49-57 record has failed to live up to the hype.
The year also hasn't been quite as easy on Oliver as ones in the past. He's struggled at times on the mound but has still managed to post a relatively respectable 3.71 ERA in 34 innings. It's not the sub-3.00 ERA he posted in each of the past five seasons, but he's still finding a way to contribute.
"This season hasn't gone the way we wanted it to, and he wanted to be a part of that," Gibbons said. "But he has been a big part of this team, and for myself personally, I've only been around for a small part of his career, but it's pretty neat for me, too."
Delabar strikes out side on just nine pitches
OAKLAND -- Right-hander Steve Delabar made history Tuesday night by becoming the first Blue Jays pitcher to strike out the side on just nine pitches.
Delabar came on in relief of left-hander Mark Buehrle during the eighth inning of Toronto's 5-0 victory over Oakland and retired his three batters with very little resistance.
A's infielder Adam Rosales fouled off the first pitch of the inning but then swung through the next two offerings from Delabar. Coco Crisp and Chris Young followed in similar fashion, with neither making contact against the mid-90s velocity.
"It's pretty cool to do. I came in and said I don't think I've ever done that in my life and I just did that in a big league game," Delabar said. "It's crazy. I'm just looking to get in there and get guys out. To do it in nine pitches and strike them all out, that's crazy."
Delabar has only been in the Major Leagues for the past two seasons but he already has a pair of quirky records to call his own. Last season, he became the first pitcher in the history of the big leagues to strike out four batters in an extra inning.
Now he owns another piece of Toronto history to go along with a spot on the American League All-Star team earlier this season. His string of success continues, as he has maintained his spot as one of the most reliable setup men in the big leagues.
Delabar entered play on Wednesday afternoon with an impressive 2.44 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 48 innings of work this year. Whenever manager John Gibbons opts to call his name, he generally knows what to expect.
"One thing when you bring him into a game, you have a chance to get a strikeout and that's big," Gibbons said. "Sometimes contact is your enemy, and when you need a strikeout he's one of those guys who can do that.